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Kendra Bancroft

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Kendra Bancroft joined Second Life in June 17, 2004. Her appearance started on the Official Second Life forums, where she quickly became a moving force due to her clever witticism. A real-life activist for the transgendered community, she quickly found a way to apply her background in politics to Second Life as well: partnering up with Ulrika Zugzwang to answer Linden Lab's challenge in the summer of 2004 to create self-governance in Second Life: Projekt Neualtenburg (then at the sim of Anzere), which was started after winning a contest by Linden Lab for creative ideas (Linden Lab forfeited the cost of buying the land).

With her degree in Visual Arts and having been trained as a photographer, besides her career as a writer of comics (she both worked for DC Comics and Marvel Comics) and as Creative Editor of the hilarious tabloid Weekly World News, her talent in Second Life focused on doing amazingly creative and realistic buildings, props, and clothing. Due to the influence of the building styles in Neualtenburg (today Neufreistadt), she started mostly with designs inspired by the Bavarian Middle Ages architecture. At this stage she produced several Fachwerks and major buildings still existing in Neufreistadt, like the Rathaus and the Schloss; she created the infamous Chicken Hat (with animations by Ulrika Zugzwang), some medieval armour, dirndls, 19th century Bavarian police outfits, a sleigh, and the urban bike Neuspa (a pun on the Italian Vespa), as well as a full range of beer-related implements (using the "Neubräu" brand).

Her role in Neualtenburg was not just building and creating props or fashion design. She was also politically active in the community and for two years the head of the Guild, an organisation of artisans who lived in Neufreistadt, and who trained new builders. The Guild was part of Government and responsible for all public works in the self-governed sim, as well as defining the budget. (To this day this organisation fullfils the role of training artisans and building the public works, but the New Guild is not part of Government, but a NGO called by the Executive of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators to deal with urban planning, provide advise, and organise the public works). Kendra's goal was to create a grid-wide brand around Neualtenburg that was a mark of excellence. Later she left the Guild and ran for elections for the Representative Assembly for the Social Democratic Faction, where she served for a term.

During her period as Guildmeister, she trained dozens of people and organized several events, the most important being the traditional Oktoberfest, the hallmark of Neualtenburg, as well as the Winter Holidays. She was, however, very often found organising smaller-scale events just for fun. In her later period in Neualtenburg, she was the sole builder of a quarter of the city known as Altenburg. While most of Neualtenburg was created with 15th-16th century buildings, Altenburg was designed as an even older quarter (10-12th century). It featured some shops where Kendra's items could be bought; the Guild's headquarters; the Clock Tower; a smaller square than the Neualtenburger Marktplatz (where the telehub is); and for a while, the short-lived Cabaret, designed in the style of Berlin in 1930, and providing a stylish, decandent, bourgeois counterpart to Second Life's many red light districts.

With some restrictions announced on the Official Linden Forums, Kendra moved to Cristiano Midnight's Second Life Universe forums, where she was a most beloved member of the community there. She was specially witty on her comments there and kept the whole forum community quite amused, while still making her point.

Due to some disagreements between her best friend Ulrika and the rest of the community, Kendra then left Neualtenburg for a while (which was then renamed Neufreistadt), and created her own medieval-themed area on the mainland, Port Neualtenburg. Democracy was abandoned for enlightened despotism, with Kendra as Kaiserin von Neualtenburg, a role she definitely enjoyed for the next two years. This was an "artists' community" in the mainland sim of Funadama, almost entirely built by Kendra herself, who also organised all events and parties. The quality of the content there, if clearly in the same line as the one originally developed for Neualtenburg in Anzere, had improved considerably.

The reason for picking a sea-side location for Port Neualtenburg was due to her long-lasting love for building ships, specially pirate ships. She was an eager member of the many sailing groups in SL, and her designs were awarded some prizes. Port Neualtenburg allowed her to join two of her joys in Second Life, the Bavarian style and building ships, into a single place. Furthermore, creating a whole new community from scratch, Kendra also engaged in many other hilarious organisations, like the promotion of the Kaiserin's Hussars, a military troupe loyal to her.

Her third love of topics and themes was, since very early in Second Life, steampunk. She had already developed a lot of steampunk-themed items (like airships and Victorian costumes) when she found about Caledon. A strong friendship developed between her and the Guvnah and a lot of pretexts were found to bring both communities together, culminating into the "War of Caledon" when Port Neualtenburg invaded Caledon after the Kaiserin was kidnapped, which Kendra filmed and turned into a hilarious machinima series named "Mince Pie" and still available on her channel on YouTube.

In spite of her own personal projects, and her enjoyment of so many new friends in Caledon, her unswerving loyalty to old friends made her contribute to the '08 Oktoberfest in Neufreistadt once more, as a Market Fair Merchant.

Ironically, she was not known to be a regular user of voice chat in Second Life, and none of her machinimas featured her voice, when she was known world-wide as the voice of Pokémon's Meowth (among dozens of other characters of cartoons, and hundreds of voice-overs for videos, games, and commercials). She had a huge fan base among the Pokémon crowd.

Kendra Bancroft, one of the most talented and creative builders in Second Life, a founder of communities, has sadly departed both Second Life and Real Life on December 11, 2008.


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